Sunday, 28 June 2009
Also anyone wanting to write on here give me a shout, silly hours are making it difficult to post. Wether you want to post and review your own music, or be given assignments just let me know
1. Jeremy Jay - In This Lonely Town
2. Grass Widow - Celebrate The Mundane
3. Katie Stelmanis - Join Us
4. Woodpigeon - Piano Pieces For Beginners
5. Bachelorette - National Grid
6. Gun Outfit - Guilt And Regret
7. Antlers - Sylvia
8. Japandroids - Wet Hair
9. Rainbow Arabia - Harlem Sunrise
10. Matthew King - Can't Define The Word Cool
11. Blank Dogs - Setting Fire To Your House
12. Frankie Rose - Where Do You Run
13. Lenguas Largas - I Feel
14. Beach Fossils - Daydream
15. Ghost Bees - Sinai
DOWNLOAD NEON KLAW 001
For Fans Of: Joanna Newsom, Final Fantasy, Laura Barrett
Links: MySpace, Downloads
Video: Vampires of the west coast (Live)
Wednesday, 24 June 2009
VINYL FORMAT. Debut 7" from Lenguas Largas includes three songs that linger in a minimal mode through a haze of herbal therapy, alcohol, and dark vibes. Lenguas Largas employs cold, minimal, post-punk stylistic leanings and tosses them through everything in the kitchen sink. Gathering up neat layers of friction and warming them up for the humans of the planet Earth.
There’s nothing greater than finding a piece of music that feels so original and innovating that you just can’t stop listening to it, like that feeling you get when you find a type of sweet or chocolate you remember from your youth in an old rundown sweet shop on the shore of some horrible British seaside destination. However sometimes you can find fondness in the simplest of music styles. I for one find it all most impossible to not shout a long to ‘Danger Zone’ by Kenny Loggins or stop my legs from wanting to dance when I hear some perfectly crafted pop song originally designed to appeal to kids at a primary school disco. It’s this same feeling that can sometimes mask otherwise insignificant music. The best example of this is when you find something that represents the ‘sound’ or culture of a country. Bands like Beirut and Hawk and a Hacksaw do this wonderfully well, taking Balkan sounds and incorporating them into ‘rock’ songs and creating something both arty and enjoyable. Last year we also saw Yelle create what could have been another horrible euro-dance album, but avoided the cliché by mixing perfectly, elements of this torrid genre with modern beats and styles. Here we have something similar, Indie music but with an Asian twist. Both of these Groups hail from Hong Kong, and to be honest its pretty hard to differentiate one from the other. They are though, both well worth checking out if your into this sort of inter cultural exchange. Sounding like an Asian Belle And Sebastian there’s certainly a lot to fall in love with about both these bands. Twee indie pop that’s hard to hate, but definitely not something to boast about listening to if you’re out to impress
A Look at what all those cool kids will be bragging about having ‘heard years ago’ in a couple of months. So let’s all get one foot ahead of all that hipster bullshit.
Beautiful pop songs for the new lo-fi world to bask in. Based in Brooklyn, New York must help get you noticed, but regardless of your post/zip code you still have to have the tunes to help you stand out, Beach Fossils three tracks available on their MySpace are more than enough to keep them afloat though, in what has become a vast ocean of noise pop. Their fleeting lo-fi amble seems to gently washes over you, at times seeming unimpressive, but this works in their favor. Most of the current scene sounds like okay rock songs recorded badly, or in some-cases catchy pop songs ruined by poor production values, to give it that ‘cool’ edge. Beach Fossils can be enjoyed without having to adjust your ears to the same frequency they were used to when traveling to school listening to music on a two pound walkman bought from Woolworths powered on ‘value’ batteries through second rate headphones.
Guess what, more lo-fi noise pop here as well. You may have read further down the page my damning review of the Baby Shakes album, and how they were undoing the hard work of Vivian Girls and other artists pioneering the female movement in alternative rock. Well here’s a name to tip the balance the other way. This all girl three piece from Birmingham Alabama make great punk tunes without any of the untoward attitude normally present. They also seem to have a pretty good taste in music referencing Fugazi, Bikini Kill and X-Ray Spexs as their influences. All of which are present to some extent on their demo ‘The Bike Wreck’. Check it out through the link below for some great contempory punk with female vocals and imagine how good a full EP/LP could be.
Girls! Girls! Girls! Looking for a good time. These three ladies certainly know how to have one, or at least write songs about it. Quirky pavement influence surf rock is what’s on the menu here. And you’d find it hard to find many people who couldn’t find something about this New York group they liked. There’s upbeat sing-a-longs, beautiful melodies, fun jangly guitars and plenty of new innovative ideas. Perfect if you’re like me and keen on the whole new lo-fi thing but sometimes wish you could hear those songs without having to wade through a mist of distortion and tinny guitar sounds
Friday, 19 June 2009
Hey! The links for the reviews below are running a bit late due to 50-60hr a week shifts and the visit of a certain DV. I promise they'll be up soon aswell as some more news posts and reviews of Fanfarlo, Woodpigeon, Dead Science, Bruce Peninsula , Grass Widow plus a Hong Kong Fight off between Marshmallow Kisses and My Little Airport (Twee'lightful)
Red Light Company, These Are Powers, Mint Chicks, Baby Shakes, Julianna Barwick, Greg Kowalski, Pukers, Nathan Fake
Baby Shakes – First One
Hailing from New York City, this all girl four piece make what has been described as ‘jolly punk/power pop’. This is their third full length and it raises the question of how on earth is that possible. Lo-fi nostalgic rock is the key to their sound, and it’s done with all the panache of an anorexic belly dancer. Each song focuses around a simple verse/chorus/verse structure, with cringe worthy, slightly off key sing-along lyrics tinted with a pinch of punk attitude that sounds like a public school girl trying to rebel against her parents by getting her ears pierced…..at Claire’s Accessories. For all the good work groups like Vivian Girls have done for all girl groups the Baby Shakes have almost all but destroyed with what sounds like a teenage Disney television show add-on album. Poor show.
For Fans Of: B*witched, Hannah Montana, Lindsay Lohan
Links: MySpace, Download
Greg Kowalski – Tape Chants
Drone, minimalist, ambient, call it what you will but I find it very hard to review or even comment in polite society about albums like this. I try to be careful to not criticize the genre to much, as I’m sure there are elements off it my ear just aren’t accustomed to yet. But the only way I can ever really enjoy these sorts of albums is at bed time when I need something inoffensive to fall asleep too. Generally praising music for its ability to send you off to sleep is not normally considered a major achievement in sound engineering. At times I manage to get by this, especially with Stars Of The Lid and Brian Enos ‘Music For Airports’ but they both took a lot of time, and as snobby and ‘art faggy’ as I try to be, sometimes I can’t escape the thought that it’s just one man holding down a single key on an organ for fifteen minutes. My only real enjoyment of this type of music was when I used to spend endless nights round a friends flat, having DJ-offs whilst playing football manager. At a certain point in the night, just as the sun was beginning to raise its head we’d hit minimalist hour. At this point the rules of the DJ box became simple.
1. No Bass
2. No Drums
3. No Vocals
This album would of got a lot more plays from me if I’d had it back then.
For fans Of: Stars Of The Lid, Murcof, Any other minimalist stuff
Julianna Barwick – Florine
This got an amazing review on ‘The Grape Vine’ the new review blog by the guy who runs Gummo Ga. Comparing it with Grouper’s latest ‘Dragging a dead deer….’ I thought it was definitely worth checking out. Like Greg Kowalski above it settles into the minimalist side of alternative music, but has a heavy focus on vocals, making it more accessible to me at least. For all this heavy concentration on vocals it lacks any definitive lyrics, using them instead to create sonic soundscapes, not to dissimilar to what Bjork did on Medula, but without the Rahzel beatboxing and Mike Patton yodeling. Some of the tracks here are done only using vocals, Julianna uses her voice and others to create a completely different type of instrumental album full of melodic, mesmerizing and sometimes even dizzying sounds that make this a fascinating soundtrack to those late nights plagued with insomnia.
For Fans Of: Grouper, Atlas Sounds, Stars Of The Lid
The Mint Chicks – Screens
Here we have some self produced experimental punk/pop from New Zealand. Using a heavy mix of keys and effect laden vocals The Mint Chicks have made an album that’s full of hooks, and ‘nice’ twinkly sounds, but unfortunately that’s about it. Overly twee they struggle to get the balance between ‘pop tunes’ and ‘rock songs’ correct, resulting in an album that doesn’t really know what its trying to achieve. Some of the tracks here wouldn’t be lost on a homemade BBC kids show about some snotty girl learning about morals by making mistakes and dealing with them. Other times they try to cover the same ground as groups like DAT Politics and The Mae Shi but never quite manage to reach the bar. Nice enough but ultimately very forgettable
For Fans Of: Phoenix, DAT Politics, Mae Shi
Nathan Fake – Hard Island
Norfolk born Nathan Fake’s 2006 album ‘Drowning in a sea of love’ released on Border Community made him many fans, including Mixmag magazine, which made it their number 2 album of that year. That time around he focused on more minimal electro sounds, on Hard Island however he’s moved into a more ‘techno’ direction. There are still elements of what he did before on ‘Drowning…’ here but they’re sparsely used to make this hard techno album more accessible than most. ‘Fentiger’ is the best example of this, slowly building up with bass heavy drums before winding down to an ambient chillout. Like a whole night out and following Sunday morning summed up in six and a half minutes
For Fans Of: James Holden, Clark
Pukers – Born In The USA
I can understand if you were in a run of the mill indie band, that starting an advent garde noise group could be an interesting proposition. Doing something different from the day job that would appeal to a whole new collection of fans. But if you were in one of the scenes current ‘darlings’ I find it a little hard to comprehend. My only idea for why Pukers, who are members of Raco-oo-oon from Iowa City, USA who over the last couple of years have made themselves quite a name in the ‘noise’ world would choice to start a new band for this album is due to the worry their fans would disapprove in the new direction ‘Born in the USA’ has taken. All this isn’t too say Pukers is a carbon copy of their previous tribal drone work, they have taken on a new lo-fi, home recorded direction which to me makes it a lot more interesting than Raco-oo-oon previous efforts. However for most the ‘spazzy’ uncomforming screams and poorly recorded drum sounds will be a little too much for the ears. It’s certainly taken me a while to be able to listen to it from start to finish in one go. However I’m sure that’s probably the kind of thing their after.
For Fans Of: Raco-oo-oon, Wavves
Links: MySpace, Download
Red Light Company – Fine Facination
A real mongrel of a band here, featuring members from Australasia, Japan, USA, and the UK. You’d think this cross breading would create some kind of crazy experimental monster of a band? Unfortunately this isn’t the case, instead what we have in yet another UK alternative rock group. Trying to join in with the bigger boys like Grammatics and White Lies they play tuneful indie songs, complete with keys and melody ridden choruses. However their not just a run of the mill, A-B copy of what we’ve seen before. Imagine a more cheerful Twilight Sad and you’d be close to describing the Red Light Company sound. Also they mention Broken Social Scene on the track ‘Scheme Eugene’, I like it when bands mention other bands I like, it’s like saying the thought that runs through my head aloud “God I wish I was in a band as good as….*insert band name*. Maybe the Red Light Company also spend hours on trains listening to music through their headphones pretending it’s them singing the songs? I appear to have revealed too much. This album won’t be remembered in a few years time, but it has enough about it to keep you playing it all summer.
For Fans Of: Twilight Sad, Captain, Joy Formidable
These Are Powers – All Aboard Futures
Last FM has been telling me to listen to these guys for some time now. Normally I tend to not bother with their recommendations too much because, whilst intuitive enough most of the time it also tells me I shouldn’t be friends with my mate Gareth because although we both like Neutral Milk Hotel, Fugazi and The Decemberists that isn’t enough and our music compatibility is too low to sustain a meaningful friendship! For once though they have thrown something my way that’s pretty interesting. All Aboard Futures is a crazy mix of pounding beats, odd electronic sounds and heavy guitar riffs that when combined with some overly ‘sassy’ vocals creates a style of music that’s pretty dam hard to categorize. Bits of it sound industrial, other parts like simple electronica and the rest like an off-kilter indie experiment gone horribly wrong. It’s good, but not amazing by anyway, interesting enough though to make it stand out and become quite a rewarding listen. Ones to watch perhaps.
For Fans Of: Mi Ami, Abe Vigoda, Indian Jewelry, Liars